Khamaj Raag – Introduction

Khamaj (Devanagari ख़मज Arabic: کھماج‎) is one of the ten Thaats (parent scales) of Hindustani music. It is also a specific raga within the Khamaj thaat.

Many ghazals and thumris are based on Khamaj. It utilizes the shuddha (pure) form of Ni on the ascent, and the komala (flat) form of Ni on the descent, creating a key asymmetry in compositional and improvisational performance.

Rag Khammaj has a clear musical structure.  It is a shadav-sampurna rag due to the ommission of the Re in the arohana.  Even in the avarohana, the Re is durbal (weak).  The vadi is Ga and the samvadi is Ni.  Undoubtedly its method of using Nishad is one of its most defining characteristics; it is shuddha (i.e., natural 7th) in the arohana but it is komal (i.e., minor 7th) in the avarohana.

Khamaj Thaat

The parent-scale or Thaat of Khamaj, notated in sargam notation, has the following structure: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa. In Western terms, assuming the tonic (Sa) to be at C, the scale would be: C D E F G A B-flat C. Khamaj thaat is thus equivalent to the mixolydian mode in Western classical music.

The Carnatic music equivalent of the Khamaj Thaat is Harikambhoji, the 28th Melakarta raga.

Raga Khamaj

According to Prem Jialal Vasant, Raga Khamaj, the specific improvisational scale based on this mode, has the following structure:

Aroha (ascending structure)-S G M P D N S’ Avroha-S’n D P M G R S

If Sa is tuned to C, then this would translate as C B-flat A G F G A E F D C.

There is no universally-accepted pakad for Raga Khamaj, although some consider the phrases

This raga has been explored more in the lighter forms of Hindustani Classical Music such as Thumri, Tappa etc. Yet a few compositions in Dhrupad and Khayal are found as well.

Prahar 5 (6 pm - 9 pm)
Important Anuvaadi
Avaroha S'-n-D-P-m-G-RS
Tanpura Tuning
Other Characteristics Performance time is not strictly defined. Can be performed at any time of the day or night.
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